Napoleon is on the way.
During Monday night’s Sony presentation at CinemaCon in Las Vegas, the studio unveiled the first-ever footage of Ridley Scott’s Apple Original Films epic. Directed by Scott from a screenplay by David Scarpa, Napoleon stars Oscar winner Joaquin Phoenix as the French emperor and military leader Napoleon Bonaparte. The feature is notable in that it indicates that Apple is serious about entering the theater space, which is welcome news for theater owners.
Sony film executive Tom Rothman introduced the footage, noting that the film will have a “robust theatrical window and full-throttle marketing campaign before moving to Apple TV+.” He added to theater owners, “We trust you will all support this movie to the max,” as it could portend more collaboration between theaters and streamers.
Rothman noted that an epic story of this magnitude has not been seen for years.
The images shown do indeed support that idea. The moody scene takes place on a snowy battlefield, as Napoleon led enemy troops to a frozen lake, then continues rain cannon fire as soldiers fall into the water, bodies and blood mingling. Napoleon stands from a hilltop and watches his carnage unfold. (For those curious, Phoenix doesn’t appear to speak with a French accent in the movie.)
“Epic is the only accurate description of that Apple Original Film,” Rothman said after showing the scene.
The film is said to be an “original and personal look at Napoleon’s origins and his rapid, relentless ascent to Emperor, seen through the prism of his addictive and often volatile relationship with his wife and one true love, Josephine, played by Vanessa Kirby. Tahar Rahim, Ben Miles, Matthew Needham and Ludivine Sagnier round out the cast.
An Apple Studios production in association with Scott Free Prods., Napoleon is produced by Scott, Kevin Walsh, Mark Huffam and Phoenix with Michael Pruss and Aidan Elliott serving as executive producers. Apple announced earlier this month that Scott’s film will be released exclusively in cinemas around the world for the first time on November 22 in partnership with Sony. Napoleon will then be streamed worldwide on Apple TV+.
Apple is mapping out a similar rollout for Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the flower moon in association with Paramount Pictures. Apple’s slate also includes movies like Tetris starring Taron Egerton, the documentary Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie, Underrated: Stephen Curry, Ghosted with Chris Evans and Ana de Armas, Scorsese’s Killers of the flower moon with Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro, the spy thriller argyll with Henry Cavill, Sam Rockwell, Bryce Dallas Howard, Bryan Cranston, Catherine O’Hara, John Cena, Dua Lipa, Ariana DeBose and Samuel L. Jackson, and more.
CinemaCon, the official convention of the National Association of Theater Owners, will be held April 24-27 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Sony Pictures Entertainment kicked off studio presentations Monday night by teasing the 2023 and beyond slate.